INDIANAPOLIS — Neighbors in Christian Park have resurrected a defunct crime watch group and are already seeing an impact on crime.
“Being present is the biggest thing we can have in the neighborhood,” said Tabitha Barnett, one of the leaders of the Christian Park Crime Watch.
We first told you about this story a few weeks ago, after the group reformed and launched a Facebook page. Since that story aired, more than 50 people have joined the crime watch and patrols have increased.
“The members have watched the crime numbers [drop] as we have put the statistics on the page,” said Barnett.
Barnett added that there have been 34 fewer thefts and ten fewer burglaries within a five-mile radius. Those numbers compare this week to last.
Recently, the group was able to keep the public informed when a SWAT situation began at a home in the neighborhood.
“Stay away from the area, and don’t be in the area. Let the police do what they need to do to de-escalate the situation,” continued Barnett, adding that they were also able to warn neighbors when SWAT teams began using smoke to flush out a hidden suspect. “Whether it’s the pepper spray, or any of it, it all comes back at you in the air. You don’t realize it until it is too late.”
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said they support the public’s efforts.
“Police departments can’t fight crime alone. We need the help from the community,” said IMPD Officer William Young. “I come from the Southwest District, and we have probably over 65 crime watch groups throughout the southwest district.”
Officer Young said IMPD has had area crime watches provide information on cases ranging from small crimes all the way to homicides. Often, those watches work as an info extension of IMPD. Officer Young said crime watches can also work as a liaison between the department and residents who have info, but may not have trust in police.
“We want those crime watch groups to be able to partner with us, and that’s the whole purpose to reduce violent crime and lower-level crime,” Young added.
The Christian Park Watch will be hosting an informational meeting at the Christian Park Community Center onat 6:30 p.m. on June 8. They will host a cookout at the park on June 18.